From the Infield to the Boardroom

So it’s been a while, blogland.  Nearly 5 months since my last post?  For shame.  Especially since I was churning out such enlightening posts.  Expert commentary. (whatever, chief) 

What have I been up to, you ask? 

Being the glutton for punishment I am, I’ve gone back to school.  But there is so much more to it than that.  In August, I quit my job (the one I had loved for 5 years!) and picked up and moved 1500 miles away to Tucson, Arizona, to attend The University of Arizona’s Race Track Industry Program (RTIP). 

I’m moving up in the world.

Every single day, I learn something new and interesting about racing — stuff I never even thought about before in the areas of regulation and track management.  I’ve learned more about quarter horse racing, too, and harness racing.  Greyhounds are still fuzzy. 

My professors are awesome.  They come from the industry, have seen the way things work first-hand, have dealt with the problems and lived to tell about them.  They’re always sharing their stories with students, and I’ve heard some doozies in the past few months. 

The guest speakers this semester have been amazing, too: Rob Terry, of RGS, Inc.; Roxy Roxborough, the legendary linesmaker from Vegas and Lou Raffetto, CEO of the National Steeplechase Association.  I’ve met the man in charge of bringing foreign horses to the BC, Nick Clarke, who did a great presentation on international racing.  Every day, every class, is like a dream.  I have exams about horses! 

I also work for the program.  I’ve been updating the RTIP Facebook & Twitter pages, as well as writing and editing press releases and working on the program’s newsletter, the Update.  I’m trying to learn everyone’s name and have made some great friends already.  The students come from all over the country, and have as varied experiences in the industry as one could imagine.  There are total civillians like me, who came into the sport as fans and horse lovers, and then there are students who grew up on the farms I’ve toured and who have been around racing, hands-on, all their lives.

The main event for the fall is the Symposium on Racing and Gaming, which will be Dec. 7-10.  The list of attendees grows by day, and it is shaping up to be a great event.  There will be many panels on marketing and promotion of racing.  That is where I hope to find my place.  I think racing is the greatest sport on the planet and have some ideas to help convince others that I’m right.  After all, if they can keep Elvis popular for 32 years after his death, then surely a sport that renews itself each spring can grab some attention.

So that is what I’ve been up to since June.  I’m moving up, from the Infield, where it’s been fun, to the Boardroom, where it’ll be real.

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2 Comments

Filed under career track, Infield Trips, promoting racing, Race Track Industry Program, Uncategorized, University of Arizona

2 responses to “From the Infield to the Boardroom

  1. Have to say that it’s pretty gutsy to quit your job and move out to AZ for grad school.

    I hope you were able to talk to Lou Raffetto when he was out there. He’s very personable and knowledgeable about all aspects of the industry. He’s held every job you could imagine and worked miracles as President of the MD Jockey Club.

    Keep writing; I’d like to hear how this year’s symposium goes. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make it out myself.

    Best of luck!

    • Thanks! Lou was a great speaker. I learned more in that hour about steeplechasing, interstate wagering and issues facing the industry than in my classes all week. And that’s something because the classes that week were pretty intense! I am hoping to do up a series of blogs about Symposium, but they may not get posted until the break — I’ve got a lot to do helping put on the event as part of the program staff!

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